Sex abuse charges against ‘Dancing with Wolves’ actor and alleged cult leader upheld

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A Nevada judge on Friday dismissed a drug trafficking charge against a former actor and alleged cult leader — but upheld a grand jury’s indictment on 18 charges of sexual abuse.

Nathan Chasing Horse — who’s best known for playing a young Sioux tribe member named Smiles a Lot in the 1990 Oscar-winning western “Dancing with Wolves” — is accused of sexually assaulting young Indigenous girls over a period spanning two decades, starting in the early 2000s.

He was arrested in Nevada in late January following a raid of the North Las Vegas home he shared with his five wives. He was later indicted on charges of sexual assault of a minor, kidnapping, child abuse, lewdness and drug trafficking.

On Wednesday, a lawyer for the actor asked Clark County District Judge Carli Kierny to toss the case, arguing the 19-count indictment was an overreach by the district attorney’s office.

The 46-year-old actor claims the sexual encounters were consensual.

In an order issued Friday afternoon, Kierny found there was no substantive testimony connecting Chasing Horse to the 236 grams of psilocin, or magic mushrooms, found in a refrigerator in the home where he lived with several other people. However, the judge said prosecutors presented enough evidence for “a reasonable grand juror to conclude that the sexual assaults occurred.”

Chasing Horse’s arrest on Jan. 31 followed four months of investigation by Las Vegas officers, who began looking into possible misconduct after receiving a tip in October 2022.

The actor’s work in Hollywood earned him a reputation of being a spiritual healer and medicine man, police said. He’s believed to be the leader of a cult known as The Circle, using his position to abuse Native American girls, according to a 50-page search warrant.

His followers, who believed he had the ability to communicate with higher beings, referred to him as “Medicine Man” or “Holy Person.”

“Nathan Chasing Horse used spiritual traditions and their belief system as a tool to sexually assault young girls on numerous occasions,” the warrant reads.

Authorities have uncovered sexual allegations against him in multiple states — including Nevada, Montana and South Dakota. At least six alleged victims have already been identified.

One of his alleged victims was 14 at the time of the assault, authorities said. Chasing Horse told her that he was being instructed by the spirits of their ancestors to have sex with her.

The actor — whose most recent credit was in 2007, when he played One Bull in the Emmy-winning HBO miniseries “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” — has pleaded not guilty. He has been in custody since his arrest on Jan. 31.

His trial is set to begin on May 1.

With News Wire Services